Saturday, May 25, 2024

Opinion: Vote like Jan. 6 could happen again — because it can. (Colbert King, WaPo column)

Beware of vipers claiming to be patriots, as during the days of desegregation.   TRUMP and his carping harpies and vicious varmints lie, cheat and steal.  Like my mom told me, "Republicans never steal anything small."  Like billions in wasteful spending.  Like our elections.  Like our news media.  See the incredible shrinking St. Augustine Record.  Once upon a time, even under MORRIS COMMUNICATIONS ownership, it would print our letters and columns -- dozens of them. GANNETT, owned by hedge funds, has shut down public dialogue in St. Augustine and St. Johns County.  Cut bono? (Who benefits?). The hedge funds who own 

Opinion Vote like Jan. 6 could happen again — because it can

19 presidential elections, 18 dignified defeats and only one Trump.

May 24, 2024 at 4:01 p.m. EDT
Trump supporters clash with police and security forces while trying to enter the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. (Brent Stirton/Getty Images)
4 min
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There have been 19 presidential elections in my lifetime. In every one, the losing candidates accepted the results as lawful, with one exception: Donald Trump.

The losing candidates have been nearly equally divided by political party: Thomas E. Dewey (R), 1948; Adlai Stevenson(D), 1952 and 1956; Richard M. Nixon (R), 1960; Barry Goldwater (R), 1964; Hubert Humphrey (D), 1968; George McGovern (D), 1972; Gerald Ford (R), 1976; Jimmy Carter (D), 1980; Walter F. Mondale (D), 1984; Michael Dukakis (D), 1988; George H.W. Bush (R), 1992; Bob Dole (R), 1996; Al Gore (D), 2000; John F. Kerry (D), 2004; John McCain (R), 2008; Mitt Romney (R), 2012; Hillary Clinton (D), 2016; and Donald Trump (R), 2020.

Nixon lost the 1960 election to John F. Kennedy by a razor-thin margin, and stories circulated at the time about vote theft in some states. Nixon accepted the results. Just as in 2000, when Gore accepted the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn a ruling by Florida’s Supreme Court and halt a recount in the state, thus giving Florida’s 25 electoral votes — and the presidency — to George W. Bush.

n 2020, Trump, contending that major fraud had been committed during the election, formally challenged the results — as was his right. But Trump went beyond the law: For more than two months after Election Day, he spread the lie that he had won when it was obvious to any fair-minded person that his claims were false. He still repeats this falsehood.

Special counsel Jack Smith has charged Trump with having conspired to retain power and overturn the legitimate results of the 2020 election by unleashing attacks on Congress on Jan. 6, 2021, that would obstruct the “process of collecting, counting, and certifying the results of the presidential election.”

It’s hard to predict when or whether Smith will get to try his case. But we do have an answer to the question of whether Trump has had any success in convincing the American electorate that he won. Over one-third of U.S. adults said in December they believe Joe Biden was not legitimately elected president. Score that as a partial Trump victory.

Trump’s campaign of pervasive lying succeeded in eroding public confidence in an election in which there was no evidence of significant fraud.

Now Trump has embarked on a no-holds-barred attempt to regain the White House — a post he desperately needs to quash federal criminal charges against him, both in the election conspiracy case and in a second prosecution related to his handling of classified information. But he’s back on the campaign trail backed by nearly 70 percent of Republicans who are convinced Biden should not have entered the White House in the first place.

Would that were the end of it.

Trump is laying the groundwork for a repeat of the 2020 post-election debacle. He has managed to get a swath of the country to believe that Biden can’t be reelected without cheating. It follows, at least in the minds of Trump and his supporters, that if he doesn’t win in November, the election would have been unfair and its result — Biden’s reelection — illegitimate.

And then what? On Jan. 6, 2021, thousands  stormed the Capitol because Trump convinced them the election had been stolen. They smashed through doors and windows and disrupted the House and Senate chambers to “Stop the Steal” and obstruct Congress from exercising its constitutional responsibility to certify electoral votes. They failed, thanks to D.C. police and U.S. Capitol officers who put their lives on the line.

But next time?

None of this is open to speculation. Trump’s false claims that he lost because of fraud did prompt his followers to assault the seat of American democracy.

If he does it again, will they do it again?

Little wonder two-thirds of Americans fear violence could follow this year’s elections should Trump once again lose to Biden.

But that’s no reason to lose heart and quake in your boots. Threats of violence are more reason to stand up straight, march to the polls and perform that bedrock duty of a democracy: vote, as has been done in 19 presidential elections during my lifetime. Should that happen, and if many millions of voters show their faith in ballot box and vote for candidates who uphold the core values of liberty, equality and democracy, then Donald Trump may well be handed his greatest defeat of all.

Opinion by 
Colbert I. “Colby” King writes a column — sometimes about D.C., sometimes about politics — that runs in print on Saturdays. In 2003, he won the Pulitzer Prize for Commentary. King joined the Post’s editorial board in 1990 and served as deputy editorial page editor from 2000 to 2007. Twitter

1 comment:

Ian said...

Beware of anyone who comes along to offer you freedom and liberty that you already have. Suffice to say they aren't there to do any such thing. Trumpism is a fascist movement.